(SCENE: The Birth Chart, which is completely empty and featureless except for the Sun and Moon, who said a small distance away from each other on deck chairs. Nothing is happening.)
SUN: (Scratches himself)
(There is another long pause)
(Another long pause)
SUN: Not much going on around here.
(From off in the distance we hero voice. It is MERCURY.)
MERCURY: Hey! Hey you guys! Sounds to me like you could use some conversation!
SUN: Who’s that?
MERCURY: It’s me, Mercury! I’m here to bring you the gifts of thought, language, and ideas. Sure, I rule lots of other things like short trips and telephones and signing contracts and negotiating and such, but but really, I’m mostly about generating and exchanging ideas and thinking about things.
MOON: That seems like an awful lot of work.
MERCURY: Oh, it can be, but it’s all worth it. Like, for example… have you ever considered the mystery of the opossum’s nipples?
MERCURY: That’s right, the mystery of opossum nipples. You see, all mammals have nipples – except for the spiny echidna and platypus. You see, mammals tend to follow what’s called the “one-half rule” : they have an average litter-size equal to one half the total number of their nipples. The majority of human births are single, and humans have two nipples. There are exceptions of course, like cats who have six nipples usually, but often have a litter of more than three kittens. And it’s always an even number, except for the Virginia Opossum which has thirteen. Thirteen nipples!
MOON: Well, that’s… interesting, but I’m not really sure what it has to do with our current situation.
MERCURY: Think about it for a minute.
SUN: Well, let me see… I don’t think it has anything to do with how empty this place is, does it?
MERCURY: Not exactly, but I think you have to admit that now that you have something to think about, the place is a lot less boring. Plus we can talk about it!
MOON: (Pauses to think) Why do men have nipples?
MERCURY: You see? You’re getting the hang of it! I’ve just opened up your basic experience to a much broader world. I’ve given you the opportunity to grow and to change and to learn from others and from the world around you. I’ve given you the opportunity to become something greater than yourself. That’s something you never had before I showed up!
SUN: I still think I am pretty great, thank you very much.
MERCURY: And so you are, big guy. But now you have the chance to be even greater!
SUN: I like the sound of that!
MOON: So anyway, what’s the deal with the opossum nipples?
MERCURY: Well, I like to spot patterns in the world around me, and that’s something I find interesting. I have no idea why it is though. Same story with men’s nipples.
MOON: You mean we’re going to have to figure out answers for ourselves sometimes?
MERCURY: Yes, but that’s part of the fun of life. It’s certainly going to be better than sitting around doing nothing.
SUN: Well then, welcome to our place, Mercury. Pull up a deck chair!
MERCURY: Don’t mind if I do. Now, as for the question about male nipples: there is no one definitive answer, but science offers several possible explanations…
MOON: This isn’t always going to be about nipples is it?
MERCURY: Absolutely not! There will be social pleasantries and pasta recipes and gossip and news and sports scores and philosophical concepts and wiring diagrams and minor complaints and knock knock jokes and history lessons and forensic accounting and sudoku and crossword puzzles and home handyman tips and millions of other things too!
SUN: (To Moon) He certainly has given us a lot to think about.
MOON: Yeah, and it’s not exactly quiet around here anymore either.